The progress of women-owned businesses (WOBs) is strong and growing faster than male-owned businesses. | NAWBO

The progress of women-owned businesses (WOBs) is strong and growing faster than male-owned businesses.

Who wants to be a Womanaire?  

By Cynthia Trevino, NAWBO San Diego; Marketing Mentor, Resonnect and Anne Staines, NAWBO Sacramento; President, Sagent  

The progress of women-owned businesses (WOBs) is strong and growing faster than male-owned businesses.

The US has 9,932,434 WOBs, making up 36.2% of all businesses.(1)  WOBs have grown 68% since 2007, compared with 47% for all businesses.(2) Receipts generated by WOBs total $1.6 trillion, an increase of 35% since 2007. By comparison, male-owned receipts grew just 33.8%.  

According to American Express Open, “The only bright spot in recent years with respect to privatelyheld company job growth has been among women-owned firms…adding an estimated 340,000 jobs since 2007. Among men-owned and equally-owned firms, employment has declined over the past eight years.”(3)  

Yet - while the number of WOBs is rising—the financial value and wealth for women business owners being created is not. Only 1.8% of women’s businesses successfully scale past the one million dollar revenue mark (versus 6.3% for men) (4).  

Most are simply creating their own jobs, and many are significantly underpaid. The Institute of Women’s Policy Research’s Jessica Milli explains, “…women-owned businesses make only about 25 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn.”(5)  

NAWBO California President, Laura Neubauer, put it this way, at PROPEL 2016: "We need to create companies and not just create our own income. Companies that scale support many families. We need to think bigger than our own satisfaction. We need more Womanaires. That will make the difference!"  

If you’re looking to scale toward or past the one million dollar mark, here are some key insights.  

WOBs have less access to capital, and emerging crowdfunding platforms can fill the gap. Indiegogo reports that women run 42% of its crowdfunding campaigns.  

Social networks are mandatory for growth because they enable access to capital, introductions, and more. WOBs must deeply expand their networks. As Laura Yamanaka, NWBC Council Member put it,  “…Savvy businesswomen assess their networks, identify gaps and build relationships with specific people to fill those gaps.”  

Women who aspire to create their own wealth and wealth for their local economies have a vision for creating something bigger than themselves. As NAWBO CA board member and owner of a multimillion-dollar marketing firm, Anne Staines said, “When I started my business I didn’t want my income to be limited by how many hours I could personally work. So I began by partnering with other contractors and then took the leap to add staff when workload was large enough. It is so much more satisfying to work with talented people whom I enjoy and who I learn from. We accomplish so much more as a team than I could ever do alone!”  

WOBs will continue to grow in the same way we started them—with tenacity, passion, and hard work. NAWBO’s 40-year history of supporting its members with community, leadership and education is here to help women increase the value of their businesses.



1 National Women’s Business Council 2015.

2 The Atlantic, April 2015

3 American Express Open: The 2015 State of Women Owned Businesses

4 National Women’s Business Council